Healthy mental health habits are being advertised around Lamar for January and months to follow.
Counselors, administrators and a mental health committee have come up with ways to help students develop coping mechanisms to everyday battles such as depression and anxiety. The mental health staff encourages students to put in the work now in order to benefit them in years to come.
“We are realizing that mental health is something that people struggle with at all ages, and a lot of it is due to experiences in childhood and teenage years,” counseling and mental health teacher Charie Vaughn said. “And so, if at this time in life, in the teenage years, if you can find coping strategies and how to get a more positive mental health status, it’s going to benefit you as an adult.”
As a way to bring awareness to maintaining good mental health during the month of January, the mental health staff has created a calendar with things to motivate such. Each day includes a task that promotes good mental health such as going for a walk, complimenting a friend, sending someone a positive message, finding healthy stress relievers and others.
“This is our first initial attempt at taking the mental health topic campus-wide in the hopes of making people more aware of it, getting them talking about things and decreasing the stigma around being anxious or depressed,” counselor and social worker Cynthia Ward said.
For the upcoming month of February, which is teen dating violence awareness month, the staff has planned to promote positive affirmations, the signs of a toxic relationship and a relationship quiz that students can take to receive answers about their own relationships. Motivational speaker Latasha Jackson McDougle has also been invited to speak at Lamar.
Plans do not end there. The staff has planned to bring attention to various topics for each month. March will focus on spreading social media awareness and how it affects depression, April will focus on anxiety, and May will give students effective resources to maintain effective mental health habits over the summer.
“Our goal is to try to help people understand what good mental health would be, and to give them tips about ways to maintain their mental wellbeing,” Ward said.
Counselors hope that students reach out and take advantage of the resources available to students.